With mock exams possibly harder to come by this year, it may be that families need to organise their own exam practice sessions. Here are a few suggestions on how this might be done.
West London tutor Matt Harmer says: Firstly, practicing a test is not just about answering questions. There are some important techniques to master.
For example, teach the technique of judging if a question is too difficult to answer and marking it as one to return to.
When invigilating my heart goes out to a child spending ages on question five of a 40 question maths paper. Come back to it!
There are various views on how to do this. I prefer my candidates to spend more time checking answers they think they have got right, rather than ages on a ‘tricky’ one.
If the exam consists of a multiple choice paper, there’s a 20 percent chance of guessing the right answer. Not everyone agrees with this, but talk about it.
On the subject of multiple choices, teach how to fill in multiple choice papers properly. It’s amazingly easy to decide to miss a difficult question but forget to jump to the next answer on the multiple choice answer paper. The outcome is obvious – lots of wrong answers.
Perhaps organise your own mini-mock day. Are there any other 11-plus candidates in your bubble? Hold a mini-exam in one house, to give some candidates the vital experience of doing an exam in an unfamiliar environment.
Wherever you do it, make sure the practice is somewhere quiet. Certainly, try and hold it on the same time and day as one of the real tests.
Don’t just mark the test and hand it back – talk about process. Are they showing their working in a maths exam, if that is wanted? If you have a small group, they can mark each other’s papers, which is always fun.
Finally, remember to praise. Top marks are unlikely. Look for progress rather than a mastery of the work from the start. Your child is unlikely to do well if they feel discouraged or fear the consequences of less than full marks.